Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Matt McLaughlin · Monday June 30, 2008
The Key Moment: A Biblical downpour bought the sedate proceedings at New Hampshire to a mercifully quick ending, with Kurt Busch emerging as the winner in a high paying game of musical chairs.
In a Nutshell: A wholly unsatisfying ending to a wholly unsatisfying race.
Dramatic Moment: There was a brief period of racing between Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson for the lead as threatening weather moved in. Other than that, the race was a total and complete farce.
What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week
When defending their home track, native New Englanders have always been able to cite a series of sellouts for the Cup races, dating back to the track’s debut in the series. Well, that argument is off the table now. Despite the track’s announced sellout, there were vast sections of vacant seats in the stands. So, let me ask again: why did we give up North Wilkesboro for this mess?
Passing was so tough at NHMS, some drivers let their tempers meltdown late in the race. Welcome to NASCAR’s Summer of Shove.
So, how long can NASCAR keep a stiff upper lip and refuse to alter the new car if the racing remains this relentlessly putrid? Seriously, watching Sunday’s race was about as entertaining as sitting on a splintery bench, drinking warm beer and watching an old Chevy truck rust. Will the last fan out of NHMS please turn off the lights?
No, I am reasonably certain that race winner Kurt Busch doesn’t actually plan to spend the next few races adding to his points deficit.
While there wasn’t much racing for the lead, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya battled neck and neck for the biggest bonehead of the afternoon honors. A lot of folks celebrated Montoya’s honest admission his acts were intentional. I figure a 100 point penalty and a hundred thousand dollar fine later this week ought to cure him of that honesty next time.
Could Tony Stewart really be considering a move to take over Rick Hendrick’s No. 5 car next season? The problem with four roosters in a henhouse is there’s no room left for anyone to lay an egg. Meanwhile, Stewart once again vented his ire at the press for asking questions about his future. The late Dale Earnhardt might have told Stewart you don’t have to worry until people stop discussing your future plans.
For those of you keeping score, Tony Stewart’s win at NHMS in the Nationwide Series was the twelfth victory by a Toyota driver in that series’ eighteen races run to date. It seems right now the Camrys are making a parody of parity.
If I were a race fan in New England, I’d be mighty worried about new NHMS track owner Bruton Smith’s low profile at the track this weekend. If Smith planned to reconfigure the track, it would be done by now. My guess is NHMS is now on life support as a potential date donor for other SMI properties. Smith stated otherwise over the weekend, but he seemed to be damning the place with faint praise and the mercurial Smith has been known to change his mind like…well, um…the weather.
Great moments in Broadcasting 101: As NASCAR battles allegations of racial insensitivity, you have to love Larry McReynolds discussing Harry Gant’s not having a “Chinaman’s chance” in a race. But give Gant style points for a truly awesome collection of cars.
Madison Avenue has never really gotten their arms around who NASCAR fans really are, but I guess I liked it better when race broadcasts featured more ads for beer than boner pills.
Was that a question Ralph Sheheen put to Tony Stewart after the race — or a monologue?
The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune
My heart bleeds for any fan who paid for a ticket and a tank full of four dollar a gallon gasoline to watch that mess of a race.
Tony Stewart dominated the event, but once again found a way to drag defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. seemed en route to yet another Top 10 finish when he got run over from behind trying to enter the pits. Jack Roush might want to revisit the idea of having Jamie McMurray sample his sponsor’s product at the wheel.
Kasey Kahne was victimized by a retaliatory bump, and all he has to show for it is a really crummy cartoon depiction of the incident.
The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune
Not only did the rain hand Kurt Busch an unexpected victory, it came just in time to keep him from getting black-flagged when brake cooling components began shedding from beneath the No. 2 car.
Michael Waltrip accepting the second place check might be the best deal ever struck since the Louisiana Purchase.
Robby Gordon is extremely lucky this week’s Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment doesn’t allow Cup drivers to pack handguns in their cars. For a perpetually laps down car, Gordon sure does seem to like battling the leaders as if he’s contending for a win every week.
Yeah, he’s been pretty laid back and diplomatic about his contract status, but you just know Casey Mears had to be delighted to post the best finish of any Rick Hendrick team driver (7th) the same weekend it was announced he won’t be back with them next year.
In a race dominated by Toyotas and Chevys, Dodge managed to get four drivers in the Top 10 in the final rundown.
What’s the Points?
Despite a substandard afternoon, Kyle Busch continued atop the points heap, now 64 ahead of second place Jeff Burton. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Edwards, Johnson, and Gordon held serve in points positions three through six.
Behind them, Denny Hamlin and Greg Biffle swapped seventh and eighth places in the standings, with Hamlin now having the advantage.
If there was a silver lining around those storm clouds for Tony Stewart, it is that he moved up two spots in the standings to ninth. Kahne and Bowyer each fell a spot to tenth and eleventh, respectively.
Kevin Harvick re-entered the Top 12, displacing Matt Kenseth to 13th. Kenseth now trails Harvick by 15 points for that final spot in the Chase.
On the outside looking in, this New Hampshire win moved Kurt Busch up four spots in the standings to 18th — but he’s still a formidable 222 points out of the Top 12.
Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one a half cup of rain water in a dented can, left by the proverbial barefoot girl on the hood of a Dodge drinking beer in the soft summer rain.
Next Up: The contrived excitement of plate racing at Daytona kicks in next Saturday night, another reminder these blasted new cars failed in one of their prime design goals of returning unrestricted racing to the plate tracks.
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I think any reaction to the “Chinaman’s chance” comment may be a tempest in a teapot. I’m usually pretty sensitive about these things, especially as slurs against Asians go; but the historical source of this actually speaks well for the Chinese immigrants, and poorly about those who worked rather hard to deny them said chances. I don’t think every phrase containing a racial reference has to be racist.
Aside from that… glad I spent the weekend playing games and spending time with the family instead of watching this race.
Matt, the only difference between Montoya and oh, say, Matt Kenseth is Montoya just said I hit him. If I were Montoya, I’d say my English is choppy what I meant to say was I need to see the replay.
QUOTE: “if the racing remains this relentlessly putrid”?
Absolute GREAT choice of words!
Oh, and by the way, please lay off Robby Gordon or any other driver that battles ANY car on the track. If you were precariously close to the magic #35 Owners points number, you would drive Granny off a cliff to stay within those boundaries!
It’s a NA$CAR thing you know! They made the rules!
OH! OH! there I go again, mentioning rules and NA$CAR in the very same sentence! Guess I just don’t learn very well!
And while I had a bit of time Sunday afternoon with my chores completed, I watched a baseball game, well, part of one anyway, more than this sicko of a race! Now, come to think about that, just what was that they broadcast from NHMS? Sure wasn’t a “race” as per definition! And the baseball game had way more excitement!
If anyone other than a writer watched that mess more than a few minutes, they have my complete sympathy. Obviously a life is in order.
If Robby had been able to stay in front of Kurt Busch he would have moved up under the last caution just like Mikey and JJ. It very well could have been a battle for the life of his race team…I have no problem with it.
I guess we just may have had more excitement in racing the thunder storm to get back to dock in Sodus Bay. Hang in there Tony!! It has to get better. Mayhaps even the racing will eventually get better?!?!?!?
Gee, the great, non-credentialed internet hack slamming a race in NH. What a shocker!
Hey, Matt…the only thing that comes as a surprise is why you continue to sit in your Mom’s basement and write this column every week.
You obviously can’t stand anything about the current configuration of the sport, so why don’t you just quit?
North Wilkesboro? Give me a break. Maybe we could add a Wednesday race in some of the state fairgrounds as well!
To paraphrase Rick Pitino when he was coaching the Celtics and someone was lamenting the absence of Bird, Parrish and McHale, “Alan Kulwicki, Davey and Dale Sr. ain’t walking through that door anytime soon”.
If you insist on writing this crap every week, how about some truth in advertising, and renaming the column “Living in the Past”?
Gee’s! Some guy’s (Jim as an example) just cannot seem to see things clearly!
Brian loves you Jim! Keep sending him your money! Actually you can save gas just by sending a check to Brian @ International Speedway Blvd.! Of course that assumes you ACTUALLY attend NA$CAR events!
I almost skipped today’s column because I knew what was coming – yet another chance to slam NH from someone who can’t stand the fact that the track sells out more and has more dates than his faves do – but what the heck, I tuned in and wasn’t disappointed. At least I can’t damn him for being inconsistent. :)
Bruton Smith wasn’t damning with faint praise, he said straight out – in a HIGH PROFILE press conference that was classic Bruton Smith – that both races are staying. Period. He said flat out that dates for KY and LV are coming from elsewhere. And that he won’t be temporarily moving a NH race for construction, either. So get over it, NHMS is here to stay – that is, unless the NIMBYs in Loudon won’t let him improve the track, a definite possibility, and then I wouldn’t blame him for pulling up stakes.
Lights three weekends a year – is that too much to ask from a company that pays a ton of tax dollars to the town, not to mention brings all sorts of benefits economically?
Funny, from TV, I didn’t see a lot of empty seats, unless it was at the beginning before the race got underway. But I guess ya see what ya wanna see. ;)
Was the race on Sunday boring? Yeah, I think it was, mostly. Do I blame the track? Partially, but this is far from the only facility where people have complained about boring racing of late. I think the new car needs tweaking still, which is not surprising, since its a new platform and new platforms always need a year or two to settle in. Contrast it with Friday’s Camping World East race, which had more than half a dozen guys challenging for the lead and swapping the first six to eight spots constantly over the last 30 laps or so. In Nationwide it wasn’t too exciting at the front because of the JGR (and satellite) dominance, but that’s been the case all year with the other tracks, too.
If they want to reconfigure Loudon, that’s fine by me – it’s his track, he can do what he wants with it. But I’m not going to be thrilled if it turns into yet another cookie-cutter tri-oval.
Matt – I was there yesterday and much of what you say is accurate. There were lots of seats empty (we had seats on both sides of us in the first turn open) – so I guess that the event was a sellout, but not fully attended! The parking lots were noticeably less crowded, and I think I’m charitable in saying there were about 2/3 the normal number of souvenir trailers there. We planned to start leaving at lap 260~270 to beat traffic – and it turns out, to beat the rain too. At lap 230, it appeared that we weren’t the only ones with this idea!
I enjoyed spending the day at the races with my son, and my friend and his son. The racing wasn’t the best – but, we had a good time together. If I had gone by myself, I would have been tremendously bored with the on track product. It took 25~30 laps for the second place car to chase down the leader (in clean air) and make a pass if the car would run a different line. Not a lot of movement up front under green.
BTW, it was funny to hear Mike Helton address the crowd, and thank them for spending their entertainment dollars at a NASCAR race. It was the same kind of ‘thank you’ speech the pilot gives you as the plane is landing…
I taped the race, so I was able to watch it in an hour and a half. Thank God. Nothing against Loudon fans but this track just bites. No one could pass all dang day.
I noticed only two people blindly defending Loudon… There hasn’t been a good race there in forever. And yes it IS the track. Well, and the “Car of Tomorrow” sucking so bad, but it sucked even when the old car was on it. It’s a poorly designed track that has just become more and more crappy with each tweak or redesign. This has nothing to do with Matt’s “hate” or Matt’s “living in the past,” racing in New Hampshire is CRAP. I’m all for Loudon staying on the schedule—if they entire track is demolished and replaced with something useful.
Then again, if they move the race from here to Yet Another Boring-Ass Cookie Cutter Oval, will it be any better? :(
Something is going to have to be done with not only these glorified taxi cabs but these follow the leader, flat, one groove race tracks. It seems so apparent the hardest ticket is at Bristol and yet why no one has tried to build another high bank 1/2 mile is kind of a puzzler. Now I guess with the ever burdening gas prices it somehow seems fitting we are treated to these fuel mileage dandies everyone will start bring calculators to the races and leave you libations at home, not sense in falling asleep too early.
I honestly hope that NASCAR doesn’t penalize Juan Pablo Montoya. He was honest, he did what he said he did, and NASCAR said at the beginning of the year that they aren’t going to censor the drivers (unless they are complaining about the new car, apparently).
In this case, I guess it might be reasonable that they would penalize him since he used his car to make his point, but I hope they just let it slide and let JPM and Kyle have a little bit of a rivalry.
One last thought – I find it pretty ironic that this 301 mile race that “goes the extra mile” ended up rain-shortened. Whoops…
“While there wasn’t much racing for the lead, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya battled neck and neck for the biggest bonehead of the afternoon honors.”
Matt, I’d give it to McMurray, and not just for breaking NASCAR’s Prime Directive (“Thou Shalt Not Wreck Junior”). Until Whine Pablum pulls a stunt like he did at the start of the 2006 USGP (A massive pile-up that knocked out eight cars), he’s really not living up to his true potential as a motorized menace.
Not that I am nit-pickin’, but wasn’t David Ragan a rookie last year?
I don’t know who it is kissin’ that blond in the photo, but whomever it is —- their mask is wrinkled.
Kurt Busch and the Rain Man, one in the same?
This is why, as a TV viewer, Loudon is my least favorite track on the current cup circuit.
Those who blame the car for that race are barking waaay up the wrong tree. That race looked just like every other race at the track in recent memory.
(I am by no means campagning to have NH’s dates redistributed…but I would happily have that track reconfigured into something that promotes better racing. Just imagine what a draw that place would be with a Bristol or Richmond cloned-configuration.)
Good job by Carpentier, proving that his car actually was fast…well, till the brakes started failing about halfway thru the race. :)
Before moaning about tracks that are difficult to pass on some more, consider the alternative. Find me a racetrack with two equally fast grooves that anyone can race in that don’t interfere with each other, and I’ll show you a parade long enough to bore even the most diehard fans. The faster cars will quickly pass the slower and the last 75% of the race will be a snoozefest unless it comes down to fuel mileage.
Great racing comes from the difficulty in passing, when two drivers are forced to drive outside the optimal line and see who is better at it.
I blame TNT for cutting away from the good battles on track to bore us with more silly statistics about the leader who was perpetually pulling away. They present a boring race and that’s what we’re going to see.
Hey, Matt…the only thing that comes as a surprise is why you continue to sit in your Mom’s basement and write this column every week.
Wht with Mom having paased on a year ago this week, I haven’t been in her basement a lot lately
I’d sure like to see Iowa Speedway in Newton Iowa get a date. 7/8 mile oval with progressive banking. You gotta have progressive banking now a days with the cars being so equal. The old cars sucked at NH also so I believe you need progressive banking.
They may have progressive banking at NH already (4 degrees)so I say make it more. How do they determine what it should be?
I can’t believe people watch a race at New Hampster, let alone pay good money to attend a race there.
There is a track that allows side by side racing. It has progressive banking. It’s in California and is called Irwindale. But NA$CAR does not own it so it will never get a date.
I really think that Dale Earnhardt Jr needs to share the bonehead award with Jamie McMurray. After all, he did decide to pit at the spur of the moment with no signal on the race track. It wasn’t all Jamie McMurray. Yes, Jamie’s spotter should have been on top of it as well, which I question many times, but Junior is just as much at fault as McMurray.
After napping during the middle part of yesterday’s race (I tried to stay awake, but something about the race made me drowsy), I went out and mowed the lawn. The John Deere folks gave me a really good mower, and my blade was just awesome yesterday. Unlike the NH track, there were multiple grooves in my lawn, but I wasn’t passed once.
Now, for those of you who enjoyed the race in NH yesterday, I’d like to inform you that tickets to my next lawn mowing, currently scheduled for July 12, are $40, general admission.
If you think Bruton won’t jerk a date from Loudon, you better be thinking long and hard about that. He’s about as trustworthy as the Frances. But at least he treats the fans decent at most of his tracks.
The only difference between the Fox and TNT coverage is we don’t have to listen to DW cheerleading. Can you imagine what it would’ve been like had DW been in the booth with his brother in second?
I think Mike in NH either needs a new TV, or needs to get his eyes examined, if he didn’t see a lot of empty seats on TV!! It looked like about every other seat was empty !!
Hey Just Noticin’,
That little error has been corrected … thanks for pointing it out and reading Matt’s columns!
Psst, your crew, you forgot to thank your crew!
Also, if I want to buy tickets to your next lawn mowing, do I have to buy tickets to watch you trim the hedges and use the weed-wacker too? Or can I just buy a ticket to watch you mow the lawn?
I didn’t watch the race. Instead…I had the scanner on in the background as I sorted through my kids’ books that I’m donating to our local domestic abuse shelter.
Judging from Matt’s column today, I am certain I made the better choice.
To Carl D. —> Hahahahahahahahahahahaha…good one!
I actually enjoyed the race. loudon is a neat track, and that place is the home of racing in the Northeast. I guess we should quit going to Daytona when the drivers race single file. And Texas, Atlanta, Vegas, California, and Michigan too. At least they could actually race yesterday, but tv never showed it, just watched the leader all day and talked about weather.
I used to have a crew and a driver. They grew up, moved out, and now they only call me when they need something.
Your $40 covers all events, but if you sit in the infield (my driveway), you’ll have to buy your ice from me, $5/bag. It’s a Bruton thing.
Hey “Mike The Insane”, I agree complety! I live in the Charlotte area and I have met people that know Bruton. NH IS going to lose a race. It’s just a matter of time.
Jim, You may be right about Matt and no credentials. That’s only because NASCAR is SO AFRAID of him. They actually bought another web site just to fire him from it!! I guess they don’t care about the First Amemdment in the Constitution of the United States. (By the way, seems all the drivers have really shut up about the COT…???)
Matt, keep up the great work. Be careful though. You never know, Brian, and that guy that looks like a caveman, (I think his name is Mike the puppet) may decide to try and buy out this site….lol..
HeY Carl D ——
Ken Smith, I wear contacts. 20/20 vision, thank you very much. But your concern for my eyesight is appreciated. ;) As I said elsewhere, I may have been paying too much attention to the race and not enough on the stands. Go figure.
Hey Jeff G, I know several folks who have had dealings with Bruton every since he stole the speedway out from under Curtis Turner. If you ever shake hands with Bruton, check your jewelry afterwards.
Even if the race was a sell-out, the empty seats don’t look good on TV and you can bet that’ll be all the justification needed to move a date. He & Bahre bought North Wilkesboro, shut it down, and moved it’s dates. Burton bought Rockingham, shut it down and moved the date. If anyone thinks he won’t do it to Loudon, you better think again.
Actually counting the EMPTY seats at NHMS was far more interesting and absorbing that watching the cars on the track!
Or maybe it is like that old saying “I am beating my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop”!
Kinda like watching a NA$CAR race!
How come Kurt and his team get credit for a good move that paid off but Michael Waltrip “just backed into his second place finish” when he and his team used the same strategy?
Your right nobody can pass at NH. In fact faster cars and better drivers in the back half of the 40+ could not make it towards the front till the pit stops at lap 74 or the first caution at 86.
Oh but wait, they did. All over the place, like #20 from 28th to 18. #31 from 31 to 22. #48 from 23 to 16.
You only see the race they let you see.
Quit crying you crackers about your podunk closed tracks you could not fill.
We don’t bitch about the textile and furniture jobs you took from us last century like you idiots whine about your dead tracks.
Of course now those jobs went to China so you have to whine about something.
Wow! I think this Dennis needs to go to a Doctor.
He seems to have real anger problems.
Racing and race tracks seem to be the least of his problems.
This is a fun place to interact with other race fans. Even if we disagree on stuff, we still know we are all fellow race fans.
We love to complain, support our favorite driver, and “poke” at each other.
I think heavy name calling, and such a show of anger takes it a little too far.
Jeff doth protest too much.
King of the personal snide and calling of names.
you see the speck in your brother’s eye but fail to notice the beam in your own eye
Whinin’ is Whinin’
Cheese & Whine
Sorry, but your eloquent words in your last post cannot mask what you said or who you are.
Again, this site is about racing, not about jobs, or why so many people in both the north and south have lost them in the industries you mentioned.
Get over it. As you pointed out. We have a lot bigger problems than NASCAR racing.
I invite you to go back and reread what i wrote. If there’s anywhere I implied that the 2 team won the race with stragecial brilliance or even superior metoeorolgy I’m not seeing it. I think what I said is Kurt won a high paying game of musical chairs. He didn’t have a race winning car but he won the race. That happens time to time.
Quit worrying about NHMS.
Internet hack? You can’t be talking about Matt McLaughlin.
Hell, I’m not that old, was a Bill Elliot fan and now a Kurt Busch fan. I respect Matt’s opinions. He’s not living in the past. He just sees the same future of NASCAR as a lot of us do. The empty seats this year are not a fluke. I am missing my traditional Bristol night race because of ticket and gas prices and (the real reason) the racing isn’t worth a $650 weekend.
If they know it is going to rain why do they not start the race earlier like they do in baseball and golf most of the peolpe are already there tailgating
I find it interesting that Matt complains about the lack of racing or excitement during the racing, then chastises Robby Gordon for actually racing. Would you prefer he just fall in line like everybody else so that way he doesn’t ruin your cut and paste rant you have prewritten for NHMS?
Also, for the NHMS fans that read this article expecting the usual track bashing from Matt, at least you got an article. For Infineon he just took his ball and went home. Why do you hate road courses so much, Matt? Did the Almighty Tim Richmond speak ill of them back in 1985?
Actually, in NASCAR, it’s not “you snooze, you lose”. It’s “you don’t sell enough tickets, you lose.” So for now, NHMS is fine. If they renovate the track and make the racing better, than it’ll take away the prime argument that everyone seems to have about this track, and you’ll have to look for some other reason to pull races.
In an article today on the Unionleader.com website Jerry Gappens acknowledged that there were empty corporate blocks of seats due to no-shows, he thought it might be the weather (but maybe not, who knows) – in other words, tickets were sold, but not used. So it still counts as a sellout. RV numbers were down 10% as well.
1-North Wilkesboro did not lose a race for this, it lost a race for the September race at NH, the other to Texas. And the term “lose” isn’t correct either, they were bought out. Remember when April was short track month (Bristol, North Wilks, & Martinsville)? Must have been Rusty’s favorite month.
2-It can rain at any track, you can’t blame NH for that.
As for anything else, I wish I could defend my local track better. It isn’t for lack of effort, the turns have been widened and repaved more than the Big Dig. The fault lies in the banking which was set when the owners believed Indy cars would be the big draw.
To change the banking they either have to lower the inside or raise the outside of the track. Lowering would be 100% of the track, pits, & maybe tunnel. Raising the outside means selling more “obstructed view” seats than Fenway Park and the original Boston Garden combined because the bottom row of seating is about the height of the current outside wall.
Any talk of reconfiguring the shape of the track like Atlanta did is just silly. The front stretch is locked by the stands & the highway, the back stretch is locked by a hill and VIP’$ camping, plus it would destroy the road course eliminating the motorcycle classic (Bike week is the other big money maker up here).
Last time I went to Loudon it was to see the Super Modifieds. These guys will run 3 wide anywhere at that track. It’s the best racing at NHMS by far. Can something be learned from these guys and passed to the Cup series?
Chiming in a bit late here, but I just got back home from the track.
The race was NOT boring – unless you were just focused on who was in the lead. There was a lot of good racing going on back in the pack.
Blame the television coverage for a boring presentation. I was there, and it was actually a very good race.
Wolfman said: Raising the outside means selling more “obstructed view” seats than Fenway Park and the original Boston Garden.
Nothing will have more obstructed view seats than that!
I don’t think you’d have too much of a problem with that. Keep the current shape, raise the outside of the track in the corners to get a 15~18 degree banking. Not sure how many feet up that would be… The banking does NOT need to be 25 degrees.
I think they cannot go lower on the inside – remember, the infield was once all wetlands. I’m sure the water table isn’t far under the tunnel roadway.